Coalition of National Arts Grantmakers Launches Emergency Artist Relief Fund

Erika Hardison

Staff Writer

Erika Hardison is a writer, social media junkie, podcaster, publisher and aspiring novelist from Chicago currently residing in New Jersey. When she's not bridging the gap between Black feminism and superheroes on, she's spending sleepless nights as a new mom with her talkative toddler playing and giggling under the covers.

A group of seven arts funders has teamed up to create the first national, multi-disciplinary direct-to-artist relief fund. The team consists of the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and the United States Artists.

The Artist Relief initiative will provide individual creatives with $5,000 relief grants to help those who are impacted by financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are set to be released quickly to give relief to poets, writers, artists, filmmakers, painters, musicians, and other creatives who entertain, inform, and produce platforms, projects, and mediums for the public.


This unprecedented, multidisciplinary, and national partnership between organizations was able to raise $10 million in relief funds. A study in 2019 by the Office of Research & Analysis (ORA) at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), reported that there are 2.5 million working artists in the United States.

All of the proceeds are going directly to the artists and people are encouraged to make tax-deductible donations. You can find out more information on their website

The relief program plans to operate for the next several months. The application is open to all artists residing in all 50 states, territories, and Tribal Nations. All working disciplines are eligible and applicants must be at least 21 years or of age or older to apply. The requirements to qualify to receive the grant include the ability to receive taxable income in the United States regardless of citizenship status and proof that the applicant has lived and worked in the U.S. for at least two years.

Artist Relief will also rollout the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers which is created by Americans for the Arts. This is put in place to collect information that will be used to better understand the artists’ needs for both the immediate and longer terms. The coalition member, Creative Capital, will manage a publicly available database of resources that will support the professional, social, and mental wellbeing of artists.

“In hard times like these, we turn to the arts to illuminate and help us make meaning and find a connection. Without immediate intervention, individual artists and the arts ecosystem of which they are the foundation could sustain irreparable damage,” noted Elizabeth Alexander, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who is also a poet and memoirist. “As artists confront these new fiscal realities, we are proud to support this vital effort to address artists’ urgent needs. We call on others to join us in supporting artists so they may continue to be our lights, chroniclers, and connectors throughout this crisis and beyond.”

Artist Relief is an emergency initiative that is relying on the support of other foundations and individual donors. It will continue to evolve as the artists’ needs will shift over the upcoming months.

Grant applications open today at